Three cDNA clones representing structurally distinct transcripts were isolated from a cDNA library prepared from cells infected with equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV) by using a probe representing the S3 open reading frame, which is thought to encode Rev. One species, designated p2/2, contained four exons and was identical to a previously described polycistronic mRNA that encodes Tat. This transcript was predicted to also direct the synthesis of a truncated form of the transmembrane protein and a putative Rev protein whose N-terminal 29 amino acids, derived from env, are linked to S3 sequences. The second cDNA, p176, also consisted of four exons which were generated by two of three of the same splicing events that occur with p2/2 but not with the Tat mRNA. The alternative splice site giving rise to the second exon of p176 results in a bicistronic message that would encode the same transmembrane and Rev proteins as p2/2. The first exon of the third transcript, p20, was identical to those of p2/2 and p176 but was spliced directly to S3. This monocistronic message could encode a second form of Rev that lacks env sequences, provided that Rev synthesis would initiate at a non-AUG codon. The coding capacity of each cDNA was assessed in a eukaryotic system using S3 antisera. Two putative Rev proteins with apparent molecular masses of 18 and 16 kDa were expressed by p2/2 and p176, while p20 expressed only a 16-kDa species. Analysis of EIAV-infected cells with S3 antisera revealed the presence of an 18-kDa protein. Surprisingly, the same protein was detected in purified virions. By using a reporter construct, the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase gene linked to EIAV env sequences, we were able to demonstrate greatly enhanced chloramphenicol acetyltransferase activity in cells cotransfected with this construct and any of the three cDNAs.